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I just read recently that Lance is a freak of nature and his body produces 1/5 to 1/4 the lactic acid of a normal human. If the the theory stated in "Unbreakable" that everyone has an opposite is true, than I must be Lance's opposite. My body my create tons of lactic acid. Let me explain, and maybe you guys can tell me if this is normal. When I ride, my legs start burnig in the first 1/2 mile. It's a gentle warmness, and a pace myslelf not to overdo it too soon. As I warm up, like 15 mins into a ride (I don't do a pre ride warm up, I just spin in low gears for the first 10-15 mins) the burn goes down a bit and I'm breathing regularly, HR around 155-165, and I'm ok. I can ride like that, but as soon as I have to pedal a little bit harder, like as the trail gets a bit steeper, my legs start burning again. It's like the burn the whole ride. My avg HR is ususlly 152 to 158 per 1hr ride, but its been as high as 168 in the past when I've pushed it hard. My legs start to burn just going up one stinking flight of stairs for crying out loud.. So, is this normal? If not, what can I do to improve in this area?
 

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Actually, you can forget most of what you have read about lactic acid (including what you may have read in my book) and throw it out the window. New evidence out of our lab and the University of New Mexico, as well as a couple of others around the world is showing pretty convincingly that the human body is incapable of producing lactic acid - the pH of the human body just won't allow it. Instead, the human body produces lactate (an acid salt of lactic acid). The "acid" that is produced by the body is in the form of free hydrogen ions that cause acidic conditions that, in turn, leads to fatigue. Lactate itself does nothing to contribute to the production of hydrogen. In fact, the conversion of pyruvate to lactate actually consumes hydrogen and delays fatigue. So a retarded ability to produce lactate is actually a disadvantage. Where do the hydrogens come from? Interestingly, the conversion of ATP to ADP (the chemical reaction that releases energy for contracting muscle) is a major source of hydrogen ions.

As far as Lance is concerned, I've tested the guy and he produces lactate at a level that is consistent with other elite road cyclists, he just tends to be able to produce more power before he accumulates hydrogen ions.

Your symptoms are something I have seen in some others. While I am not sure what is behind the burning, I am sure that you will increases your working capacity by performing short, high-intensity intervals (leadout intervals if you have read my book) a couple of times a week.

best of luck,

Dave
 

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dave morris said:
Actually, you can forget most of what you have read about lactic acid (including what you may have read in my book) and throw it out the window. New evidence out of our lab and the University of New Mexico, as well as a couple of others around the world is showing pretty convincingly that the human body is incapable of producing lactic acid - the pH of the human body just won't allow it. Instead, the human body produces lactate (an acid salt of lactic acid). The "acid" that is produced by the body is in the form of free hydrogen ions that cause acidic conditions that, in turn, leads to fatigue. Lactate itself does nothing to contribute to the production of hydrogen. In fact, the conversion of pyruvate to lactate actually consumes hydrogen and delays fatigue. So a retarded ability to produce lactate is actually a disadvantage. Where do the hydrogens come from? Interestingly, the conversion of ATP to ADP (the chemical reaction that releases energy for contracting muscle) is a major source of hydrogen ions.

As far as Lance is concerned, I've tested the guy and he produces lactate at a level that is consistent with other elite road cyclists, he just tends to be able to produce more power before he accumulates hydrogen ions.

Your symptoms are something I have seen in some others. While I am not sure what is behind the burning, I am sure that you will increases your working capacity by performing short, high-intensity intervals (leadout intervals if you have read my book) a couple of times a week.

best of luck,

Dave
Dave,

Been curious: I read your book and was wondering if you plan on writing a book more geared towards mtn. bikers or if there's not enough of a difference to warrant it.
Don't mean to hijack your thread, bmadau.

Thanks.
Lou.

BTW, welcome to the forum. :)
 

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indulge a neophite....curious about your statements on lactate metabolism...

im an engineer (chemical) with a bit of background biology and the like...so i apologize for the possibly silly questions...

I always understood lactic (lactate) levels to have a strong positive correlation with 1) levels of physical activity/rest, and 2) the perception of fatigue and "pain"...Are you saying that 2) is just not true (causal relationship b/i lactate and pain)? from your post you seem to indicate that acification is the main reason for 2), is that right? always thought that pH was tightly regulated (0.1-0.2 pH otherwise many enzymes are not operating in their optimal point) and that you basically had anywhere from about pH 7 to pH 4 (in dedicated compartments) fixed, would excercise change those levels significantly (say by more than 0.5 points?)..

what part of pain perception can be attributed to tissue injury in "normal" excercise vs changes in the chemistry of the tissue? Is the response to injury (if any) post-excercise the reason for increase builtup of muscle tissue, or more of a direct response to mechanical load above "normal" activity...would that go along with the necessity for proper recovery time to allow for tissue builtup rather than continued wear and tear of an alrready "compromised" tissue (actual loss of mass!)? Would it be fair to say that most of this control/regulation is kinetic and NOT thermodynamic (either in terms of mechanical wear vs buildup, and acidification vs buffering (rxn kinetics) and transport across cellular boundaries and waste disposal :))...

On the ATP->ADP you describe, does the proton come from the phosphate group lost? or the ADP, i.e., is there a corresponding change in pKa of ADP vs ATP that would favor release of H+ under physiological pH???

Are you also implying that pyruvate to lactate conversion is one of the main buffering mean of excercise related acidification?...but that would not be consistent with 2) above??? What is, briefly, the relationship bewteen acidification and perception of pain, basically, how do the protons couple with nerve excitation???

Did you guys use tracers to determine the nature of the "lactate species" (for ex. a ionic isotope)? what kind of direct evidenve do you have to claim that lactic acid jsut does not occur in the human body?...what pH is required for the ionic exchange or protonation, what ionic strength is required? the pKa of Lactic acid has probably been known for a long time, along with cellular pH in different places (and roughly the ions concentrations), why does the realisation that only lactate occurs only happens now? am i missing something?? Puzzling...Also the protonation levels of lactate (and balance of salt form) vs pH, as far as I know, show a *distribution* uniquely defined by the pKa(s) so its hard to believe that out of, say, 1 mol of lactate, none of it occurs in its lactic acid form..its not really a "swicth" behavior on or off but a continuous functional relationship...were you just speaking "nominally"? if thats the case, how can you assert that none of the lactic acid (however small that fraction is in relation to lactate) has NO physiological effect...

What of all the research on lactic acid (of which I have very little to no knowledge) and excercise? how many poeple are you guys p...off? :)

thanks for your reply and time, looking forward to your reply.

dave morris said:
Actually, you can forget most of what you have read about lactic acid (including what you may have read in my book) and throw it out the window. New evidence out of our lab and the University of New Mexico, as well as a couple of others around the world is showing pretty convincingly that the human body is incapable of producing lactic acid - the pH of the human body just won't allow it. Instead, the human body produces lactate (an acid salt of lactic acid). The "acid" that is produced by the body is in the form of free hydrogen ions that cause acidic conditions that, in turn, leads to fatigue. Lactate itself does nothing to contribute to the production of hydrogen. In fact, the conversion of pyruvate to lactate actually consumes hydrogen and delays fatigue. So a retarded ability to produce lactate is actually a disadvantage. Where do the hydrogens come from? Interestingly, the conversion of ATP to ADP (the chemical reaction that releases energy for contracting muscle) is a major source of hydrogen ions.

As far as Lance is concerned, I've tested the guy and he produces lactate at a level that is consistent with other elite road cyclists, he just tends to be able to produce more power before he accumulates hydrogen ions.

Your symptoms are something I have seen in some others. While I am not sure what is behind the burning, I am sure that you will increases your working capacity by performing short, high-intensity intervals (leadout intervals if you have read my book) a couple of times a week.

best of luck,

Dave
 

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Hi Mohiccan: Perhaps I was being a bit overly simplictic, but I didn't expect a reader with your knowledge of biochem. With a pKa of ~ 4, it is quite clear that very little "lactic acid" is going to be produced from glycolysis considering that, even during severe exercise, muscle pH doesn't drop much lower than the mid to low 6.X range. Thus, we must look elswhere to find the major, consequential source(s) of hydrogen ions. Rather than provide a explanation that would prove mind-numbing for most of the readers here (including myself on some days) I would direct you to http://sportsci.org/jour/0102/rar.htm for an article written by Rob Robergs, who has been studying this issue in far greater detail than myself. With your background, I believe you will find the article informative and the information quite logical. If you are still not convinced, an article on the issue is coming out in the American Journal of Physiology that will provide more detailed explanation. This article should be published in the next couple of months.

Yes, this "new" viewpoint has caused a stir in exercise physiology, but a careful review of the literature reveals that this line of thinking was presented as early as 1977. However, the issue was overshadowed by the aggressive work out of George Brooks' lab at Berkeley dealing with "lactic acid" dynamics. In some sense, it appears we were in such a hurry to deliver a message that few realized that we were carrying the wrong message. BTW when this current evidence was presented to George, he responded quite favorably towards it.

hope this helps,

Dave
 

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Hi Lou: Thanks for th reading the book. Currently, I have no plans to release a book on mountain biking as there are not enough differences between mtb racing and road racing to warrent an entire book. As I mentioned in Performance Cycling, the two main differences between the disciplines are 1. bike handling skills, and 2. the power demands of mtb racing tends to fluctuate considerably more than during road racing. Otherwise, the demands are much the same, that is: power, power and more power.

Take care,

Davve
 

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Training

I'm not going to site and medical journal info here, but in my riding experiences, reducing this "lactic acid" burn or muscle fatigue is done by training.

The same climbs I used to struggle with a year ago are now easier (with less leg burn) because I'm stronger and more fit. I think everyone experiences this "burn" at some point depending on how hard they push themselves. The stronger your legs become the longer, further and faster you can perform.

the only thing i've noticed helps in my leg power is having some carbs to burn. I noticed depending on my diet for the past day and 4-5 hours before my ride can effect how much power I have. It seems if I'm low on carbs, my legs burn way early up the same climb that i know I can do more comfortably if I had the proper food intake prior.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Malt-O-Meal has been my pre-ride meal recently, and I think it helps a lot, now that you mention it. It's like eating a bowl of carbs, chalk full of iron with a touch of protien (50/50 milk/water recipe), and I also add a pat of butter for flavor (butter makes everything better, none of that margerine crap!). It's also just about digested to boot! I've felt a lot stronger on my rides since I've been eating that. I also ride at 6am so it works real well for me, since I can only eat 1hr to 30mins before my rides.

I guess I'll just have to "play through the pain", and train harder as you suggest. I'm a high cadence spinner, not a tall gear masher. Standing and pedaling fries my legs in seconds, so maybe I just need to force myslef into doing it regularly during parts of my ride. I can think of a couple of climbs where could do that. Part of my problem is that my loop is real technical/rocky (many fist sized rocks) and I'm not very precise standing and pedaling, but sitting I can more carefully negotiate my way through, so I get lazy and sit the whole time.

Thanks..
 

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There's a couple of things I'd suggest.

The easiest way to get round a 1 hour ride in good shape is to do lots of 2 hour rides. Ideally 3 times per week to start with. It'll increase your endurance and when you go back down to a one hour ride it'll feel so short you'll barely know it's finished. Do more volume, match your diet to the training, get plenty of rest and you're guaranteed to hurt less and be quicker on a ride. (In a few months time).:)

If you're only doing short rides it's important to get settled in as soon as possible. Try using a warm up embrocation such as Nature's Kiss 15min or so before the start of the ride. http://natureskiss.net/prodtype.asp?PT_ID=6&strPageHistory=cat This will get your legs going far sooner than using nothing at all. I find my legs hurt less as well with embrocation on for some reason? Specifically, you want to put plenty of embrocation on your hips and lower back as well as your legs. For short rides and cold weather embrocation on your arms and shoulders can be helpful too.

Stretching is a must of course.:)

For improving lactate tolerance have a look at www.powerbreathe.com It basically improves your breathing strengh which gets rid of that desperate gasping sensation whilst you're climbing and it's also claimed to improve lactate tolerance significantly also. Highly recommended.:) You use it morning and night as a exercise but also as a warm up tool before the ride on a gentle setting. I've had one for about a year now and it takes a few months use for the full breathing strength effects to come through although you notice the benefits of the warm up straight away.

In the very short term loading with phosphates such as http://store.maximuscle.co.uk/cgi-b...bae001e2a4427420a020a010509+EN/products/TURBO will increase lactate tolerance and make you go better with less pain more or less straight away. That's really only for special occasions like races though as it's not cheap.:(
 

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All I can say to some of the posts on this thread is... HUH? haha.. man, I took a few bio courses this past school year (college of course, not HS) and this stuff still confuses me. but not nearly as much as what some of you have written. looks like I still have more studying to do before I graduate. =) as for the burning, it could be your diet. eating crap will make your ride into crap. oh and a proper warm up might help instead of going for the hard stuff right off the bat. Even with weights, you warm up before you lift or you might seriously hurt yourself. my two cents. sorry if this post doesn't make too much sense, it's just that I'm confused already trying to understand some other things posted.
 

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In some respects, as I understand it, the arguement over where the Hydrogen ions come from is biochemical semantics. While I agree that lactic acid probably doesn't cause fatigue, I'm not so sure the drop in pH is a major cause either (whatever the source of the hydrogen ions). I think a much better case can be made for Phosphate or Calcium as the primary players during fatigue, and certainly glycogen depletion during prolonged exercise.
 

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PH manipulation from left field

Could or does food in the blood stream have an effect on ph and subsequently performance?

E.g. does beer (acidic) have a negative effect on performance either hypothetically or through linear reasoning drawn from known research?

Of course if there has been a study on this..... Right.
 
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